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There are many applications that allow to test read speed of data storage devices (hard drives, USB sticks, etc.), but, in this tip, we will see how to use the command line under Ubuntu to check read speed of your local hard drives and removable storage devices.

From the Terminal, run first this command to display all mounted drives:

 sudo fdisk -l

If for example we want to test read speed of your hard drive, then issue this command:

 sudo hdparm -t /dev/sda1

Replace /dev/sda1 with the mounted drive name as displayed in the list of partitions (/dev/sda1,/dev/sda2, /dev/sda3, etc.). Here is the output I have got for my hard drive:

/dev/sda1:
 Timing buffered disk reads: 272 MB in  3.01 seconds =  90.38 MB/sec

My hard drive has read speed of 90.38 MB/sec.

To check for example read speed of your mounted USB flash drive, then run this command (Replace /dev/sdb1 with the drive name assigned to your USB drive):

 sudo hdparm -t /dev/sdb1

Here is the output I have obtained:

/dev/sdb1:
 Timing buffered disk reads:  62 MB in  3.06 seconds =  20.23 MB/sec

My USB flash drive has read speed of 20.23 MB/sec.

Note: this tip is tested under Ubuntu 11.04/10.10/10.04.

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